Georgia made a significant step forward towards outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Georgian parliament adopted in its final reading anti-discriminatory amendment that will consider any crime motivated by sexual orientation an "aggravating circumstance".
We need similar provisions for Armenia too. I wonder if the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) made similar recommendations for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey? If they have not made yet, well, they should. A comprehensive anti-discrimination provisions covering, along with criminal code, health care, employment, provision of services, education and so on, should be a MUST in a way of furthering integration with the EU.
For now, I may only re-instate what I mentioned in my previous related post: As of now, Georgia is clearly the most advanced country in the South Caucasus in terms of legislative provisions on LGBT issues. [Read more: Georgian Legislation on LGBT Issues - “Regional Network Against Homophobia” book chapter]
Parliament approved on March 27 with its third and final reading an amendment to the criminal code making the racial, religious, sexual orientation or other bias motives of an offender an aggravating circumstance to be taken into account by the courts.
Aggravating circumstances, according to amendment, will apply to any offense motivated by “race, colour, language, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, political and other views, disability, citizenship, national origin, ethnicity, social identity, origin, property and other status, place of residence or other discriminatory grounds and intolerance.”
The amendments was made in response to recommendations from the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), a human rights body of the Council of Europe, which has been calling on Georgia to enact legislation providing for racist motivation to constitute a general aggravating circumstance applicable to all types of offenses.
The initial proposal was prepared at the Civic Integration and Tolerance Council at the President of Georgia, followed by broad discussions with civil society groups and stakeholders, including in the regions in cooperation with the Public Defender’s Council of National Minorities in frames of USAID project.
In the process of further discussions in the Parliament, upon the recommendations of civil society groups the draft was amended to include not only ethnic, racial or religious factors in the list of discriminatory grounds but also sexual orientation.